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Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Christine Ma-Kellams


Asian subethnic groups, East Asian, Help-seeking attitudes, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Stigma

Subject Areas

Mental health; Asian American studies; Psychology


In the present study, I explored mental health service utilization among college students from Asian subethnic groups. I hypothesized that perceived stigma by others would mediate the relationship between Asian subethnic groups and willingness to seek counseling. Specifically, East Asian participants should be less willing to seek help from mental health services compared to Southeast Asians and South Asians participants (Hypothesis 1). Moreover, I proposed that these differences would still emerge after holding mental illness symptoms and generational status as covariates (Hypothesis 1a). Additionally, East Asian participants should have higher perceived stigma by others compared to Southeast Asian and South Asian participants, which would explain being less willing to seek professional help (Hypothesis 2). One hundred and sixty-six participants that identified as one of the Asian subethnic groups (i.e., East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian) completed questions that screened for symptoms of common mental disorders and asked about their perceptions of stigma around seeking help as well as their willingness to seek help. The results of the present study found no significant differences among Asian subethnic groups and help-seeking intentions. Limitations of the study such as unequal sample sizes, incomplete data, and external validity are discussed.